Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2016 OFC Champions League > Preparation is the key for referees

Preparation is the key for referees

Referees and assistant referees are just as important to a football tournament as the players and the coaching staff are.
This month 23 of Oceania’s top match officials, representing nine nations across the South Pacific, have gathered in Auckland, New Zealand to officiate in the annual OFC Champions League.
Amongst them is New Zealand assistant referee Glen Lochrie who has big game experience having spent time officiating in New Zealand’s top leagues and Australia’s A-League.
The 35-year old from Auckland says the officials must be both physically and mentally prepared for an elite tournament such as the OFC Champions League.
“You have to be match-fit and you have to pass the fitness test not just three month in advance but also the day before the tournament,” he says.
“You also need to do your research on the teams. I watch as many matches of them as possible and speak with other referees who have refereed them in the past to find out how they are going to play. So if they like to play long balls you need to have a really good sprint on you to keep up with the play.”
Lochrie says a tournament environment presents referees with some unique challenges.
“The games come thick and fast and you have to be switched on all the time. With so much at stake the intensity level is high and that can get to some players. They can just flick a switch and go from playing nice football to committing silly fouls.”
According to Lochrie referees are like players and teams – they can have both good days and bad.
“We try to minimise our mistakes to one in a hundred games if we can, but we are human and quite often we make errors. But we like to eliminate those and if we make an error, we like to make it small,” he says.
Match officials have to make split-second decisions on the spot and their calls are often disputed and disliked by players and fans alike.
Lochrie says it’s important for referees to block out any outside influence.
“You have to go into what we call your own zone. You have to ignore all the negative stuff that goes behind you, you just have to focus on your role and duties as an official and concentrate on the game.”

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